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Scrutinizing the Barriers to Organizational Change: Analyzing the Soft Barriers to Change from an External Change Agent Perspective
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

About 50-70 % of all change initiatives fail and one reason for this is soft barriers, which mainly depend on people. These barriers are challenging to manage because individuals react to change in different ways. Due to these difficulties, companies look for help from consultants, who are perceived to have wide knowledge about change. Hence, the authors have studied the change process and the soft barriers from an external change agent perspective by interviewing nine experienced consultants. The results indicate that no phase in the change process is prominently more problematic than another, instead each phase is the outcome of prior phases. If the critical barriers in each phase are considered the change can be successful. Several soft barriers to change have been identified; lack of goals and vision, no demand for measurements and follow-ups, and a too large and homogenous project group without relevant competence or a clear driver of the change. Additionally, the findings suggest that top management is specifically problematic due to that they are often not united, are impatient and struggle with power and politics. Thus, the study indicates that resistance often starts from the top, which affects the rest of the organization and the outcome of the change. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 37 p.
Keyword [en]
Change Management, Organizational Change, Organizational Barriers, Soft Barriers, Change Processes, External Change Agents, Consultants
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-255980OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-255980DiVA: diva2:824240
Subject / course
Business Studies
Educational program
Master Programme in Business and Management
Available from: 2015-06-24 Created: 2015-06-21 Last updated: 2015-06-24Bibliographically approved

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